• Clara Leismann Dybdal Hansen
  • Emilie Mignon
Shrinking villages are getting increasingly more attention in planning, as one of the major challenges in planning today is the growing demographic changes, which is creating a distortion between the rural and the urban. Denmark is no exception to these changes, and in 2019, a new addition was integrated into the Danish Planning Act requiring all municipalities to start planning strategically for the development of villages and rural districts as a part of their municipal planning. To help the municipalities, a method was suggested by the association Realdania, with a focus on quantitative mapping and measuring civil strength through extensive and continuous involvement, though with a lack of guidance on more specifically how to do it. There are many arguments for doing participation in planning processes, but deciding on the right process for the specific situation is difficult because it revolves around people and their preferences, relations, actions and social reality. The planners’ choice of involvement in the process of strategic planning for villages is investigated in this thesis in the light of the possible field of actions the planner is equipped with, with the aim of answering the following research question: \textit{How does the acting space of the planner lead to different barriers when involving the local communities in the strategic planning process of a village?}

The problem is approached from the point of critical realism through a comparative case study of five planners in five different municipalities who have been working on their strategies for the development of villages. The main theory will be Grange’s theory of acting space. The planner’s acting space consists of three elements: authority, ability and identity, and these elements will form the basic elements in the analytical framework for the case study. Further, Kühn's theory on dealing with conflict in planning processes will be used to understand the approach the planners take to the planning process and their own role in it to contextualise their acting space. Through the analysis, it is clear that the five planners have chosen quite different approaches to working with the new legislation with varying efforts towards meeting the new demands and different choices for involvement throughout the process. The planners face different barriers in their authority and ability mainly through the political and financial situation of their municipality, but these barriers mostly restrict the product, not the planners’ choice of involvement. The findings point towards the planners’ identity being determining for their choice of involvement, as there is a very clear link between the planners' motivation and identity and the planners choice of process and involvement. What seems to determined their choice of involvement is not the methods of Realdania, but a mix of the planners' own identity and the available resources. The planners mainly facilitate the involvement from the point of their own identity and motivation, but the available resources is considered when choosing the type and amount of involvement.
SpecialisationUrban Planning and Management
Publication date4 Jun 2021
Number of pages82
ID: 413703518